Speaking at the 2008 Morningstar conference, Geffen said boutiques can focus on long-term growth and there is no shareholder demand for dividends.
He said: “The direction of the company is set by the people who are there. At Neptune, 80 per cent of the company is owned by people who work there and that provides a continuity and stability. It assures investors that we want to run their money for the long term.”
Geffen said this gives a crucial link between employees and investors. He said: “You can still have that culture if you are bigger but I think if it starts to dilute below 50 per cent. You need to have full executive independence.”
Geffen said it is paramount that firms emphasise performance over simply building assets under management.
He said: “The first commitment is to performance and there is a danger that marketing can take over. We have a set amount which we feel is suitable and we review that according to liquidity and the size of markets.”
Artemis chief executive Mark Tyndall said: “You do not want an ideal size, you want to continue to grow with a happy and energetic approach. If you just stop, then people who are ambitious will look to leave.”